How much does building a new house cost?

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If you are wondering how much it would cost to build a house, our handy price guide should help. The cost to build a new house in the UK is between £130,000 and £600,000. We’ve taken an in-depth look at the expenses associated with each stage of the process, provided you with some cost saving tips and answered some of the most commonly asked questions about new build homes. All price estimates are accurate and up to date as of 2024.

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Self-built houses are becoming increasingly popular, presenting a compelling level of control and personalization to the consumer. But how much does it actually cost to build a house in the UK, from design through to snagging and completion? Is it a viable option for you? And are there any hidden costs you might have forgotten to consider?

We'll cover the following topics in this pricing guide:
  1. Average cost to build a house
  2. How much does building a new house cost?
  3. Cost to hire qualified house builders
  4. How long does building a new house take?
  5. How to reduce house building costs
  6. FAQ
  7. Your new build house checklist
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Average cost to build a house

The average cost to build a house per square metre is £1,500 to £3,000. Or, if you prefer to go by imperial measurements, the average cost to build a house ranges from £140 to £280 per square foot.

This broad price range, which can make it challenging for a customer to get a true sense of cost in advance of a project, is primarily down to the fact that building a house is complex and bespoke. Different materials come at different price points, and what works for one project won’t always work for the next, just as what happens during one project won’t always go as smoothly during the next.

The best way to use existing average cost data in the field of house building is to break down the phases of a job, from concept design to installation of fixtures and fittings. The table below outlines the average costs for each stage of building a property from the ground up.

House building stageAverage price/price range
Designing the property5% to 15% (of the total build cost) fee for an architect, £1,000 to £5,000 for a structural engineer
Securing planning permission£462 per dwelling house for a full planning permission application
Securing Building Regulations approval£500 to £1,000 in fees, £2,500 to £3,500 for Building Regulations drawings
Completing groundwork and laying foundations£95 to £280 per metre
Erecting the superstructure£1,500 to £3,000 per square metre
Connecting electrics and plumbingUp to £20,000, depending on your plot and existing connections
Flooring, plastering and carpentry£15 to £90 per hour (additional materials costs may apply)
Fixtures and fittings, inc. kitchens and bathrooms£18 to £65 per hour (additional materials costs may apply)
Painting and decorating£250 to £400 per day
Gardening and landscaping£15 to £45 per hour
Snagging£300 to £600 per survey

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This table is based on recent data, reflecting increased material, labour and living costs. Note that these are only average figures and should be treated as such. The best person to advise you on prices and provide an accurate quote for works will always be a build a house who understands the specifics of your planned project

How much does building a new house cost?

So, putting all the above stages of the building process together, how much does it cost to build a house on a plot of land? The average total cost ranges from £130,000 to £600,000, with many different factors influencing that figure. These factors include:

  • Your location in the UK: Building a house in London will usually cost significantly more than building a house in other areas of the UK. This is down to both land prices and tradesperson rates.
  • The accessibility of your plot of land: Poor access can add to your bill. How far are you from the nearest town? How equipped are you for large vehicle and machine access?
  • The condition of your plot of land: Demolition of an existing structure on a plot can be expensive, and connecting to mains services can cost up to £20,000.
  • The size of the property you plan to build: The larger the home, the higher the cost, and the higher the cost of self-build insurance, which averages £600 to £1,200.
  • The shape and style of the property you plan to build: Unique homes that differ from other properties in the area can run into costly planning permission issues.
  • Your chosen building materials: If, for instance, you’d like to add stone cladding to your home, you’ll push the price up above the cost of a more straightforward brickwork finish.
  • Your chosen tradespeople (architects, structural engineers, builders, etc.): Different professionals charge different rates for their qualifications and experience.

To offer an example of how much one element can change things, the table below outlines the impact of property size and floorspace on the total build cost.

 Property descriptionAverage total build cost
Bungalow with a floorspace of around 77m2£200,200
Chalet/dormer bungalow with a floorspace of around 82m2£213,200
Two-storey end of terrace house with a floorspace of around 86m 2£223,600
Two-storey semi-detached house with a floorspace of around 93m2£241,800
Three-storey terraced house/townhouse with a floorspace of around 100m2£260,000
Two-storey detached house with a floorspace of around 155m2£403,000

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The various expenses of a self-build may leave you tempted by a DIY route, but it’s not recommended. Planning permission is a requirement for all newly erected homes, and failing to comply with Building Regulations is both illegal and costly to rectify. Plus, safeguards such as indemnity insurance and new home warranty schemes protect you from liability when you hire an experienced and qualified new home builder.

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Cost to hire qualified house builders

Labour costs are usually somewhere from 35% to 55% of the total build cost for a residential property. As you might expect from the huge amount of work contained within the house building process, many different tradespeople will be needed during the journey from empty plot to dream home. This table outlines average rates for all the professionals you may need.

 TradespersonAverage rate
ArchitectFee of 5% to 15% of the total build cost
Structural engineer£90 to £200 per hour
New home builder (your main contractor)£240 to £320 per day
Labourer£180 to £240 per day
Scaffolder£200 to £280 per day
Bricklayer£240 to £320 per day
Roofer£220 to £320 per day
Electrician£45 to £60 per hour
Plumber£40 to £70 per hour
Carpenter£30 to £90 per hour
Bathroom fitter£18 to £45 per hour
Kitchen fitter£250 to £350 per day
Flooring installer£15 to £25 per hour
Plasterer£10 to £20 per hour
Painter decorator£250 to £400 per day
Gardener/landscaper£15 to £45 per hour
Snagging inspectorCharged per survey, usually from £300 to £600 per survey

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Cost of planning and approval

Once you’ve purchased the land you hope to build on and spent around £500 on a land survey, you’ll need a design for your property. If you already have a design idea and a new home builder who feels they can confidently deliver on your specifications, you may not need to hire an architect. Bear in mind that if you forgo this type of support, you’ll have to manage certain aspects of your project and planning application independently.

Hiring a qualified structural engineer at this stage is, however, a necessity to confirm the safety of your planned build. This could cost you up to £10,000, but for most residential self-builds, £5,000 is a more realistic amount.

Once your design is done and found to be structurally sound, you can make a full planning permission application. This should cost £462, though other fees might apply if your plan is for an especially large or unique dwelling.

Cost of groundwork

With planning and design sorted, and a qualified, experienced builder on board, you’ll move into the first phase of constructing your home. Groundwork consists of activities like excavation, filling and drainage, or anything that happens below ground level.

Labourers usually carry out groundwork. The average daily rate for a labourer is around £210, with your total for this phase of construction defined by how long it takes. Examples of factors related to your plot of land that would add to the price of groundworks include:

  • The ground is uneven on the plot
  • The soil on the plot is poor quality or hazardous in nature
  • The water table on the plot is high
  • The plot needs to be connected to mains services for the first time
  • Existing structures on the plot need to undergo demolition
  • The plot/planned building is large in size or complex in design/shape

Cost to lay the foundations

Labourers will lay the foundation of your property once the ground has been prepared. With the cost of groundwork and excavation included in the total, foundations for a new home are typically priced per metre or square metre. The table below outlines the costs applicable to different foundation construction types (hand-dug options are utilised at an extra cost when access issues prevent manual excavation).

 Foundation typeAverage price range
Strip foundation£95 to £115 per metre
Hand-dug strip foundation£170 to £220 per metre
Trench foundation£130 to £160 per metre
Hand-dug trench foundation£220 to £280 per metre
Raft foundation£200 to £260 per square metre

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When your foundation and substructure are in place, bricklayers will be employed to build up the blockwork to the level of the damp-proof course. The day rate of a bricklayer is usually around £280.

Cost to build the superstructure

Your superstructure forms the bulk of the build, including the frame, the cladding and the roofing. This phase is arguably the most essential part of constructing a home, accounting for 25% to 30% of a residential home build’s total cost. Going by the averages, this would equate to anywhere from £32,500 to £180,000.

Since so many different things are contained within the superstructure, it can be hard to offer a general price estimate with any accuracy. This is evidenced by the fact that prices range considerably even within individual elements of the superstructure. For instance:

The frame is usually constructed of timber, steel or concrete. Costs range from £250 per m2 at the lower end of steel to £2,300 per m2 at the higher end of timber.

The cladding could be stone, timber, block and render or brick. Costs range from £20 per m2 at the lower end of timber to £80 per m2 at the higher end of stone.

The roofing work could be completed using many different methods and materials. The cost of a new roof installation ranges from £3,000 to £18,000.

Cost of electrics and plumbing

Connecting services is another element of constructing a house that can range significantly in cost. It all depends on location, property size and the presence (or lack thereof) of existing services.

If you have a serviced plot, or you’re demolishing an existing home to build yours, you’ll already be connected to utilities and mains services, such as gas, electricity, water, wastewater and broadband. If you don’t, you can organise getting connected as soon as you’ve purchased your land. The earlier, the better, since working with your local service providers to get on the grid can be an expensive headache, costing from £15,000 to upwards of £20,000.

Once your plot is serviced and your superstructure has been constructed, you’ll need to install electrics and plumbing throughout your new build. This table breaks down average price ranges for each element of this, including labour costs.

ServiceAverage cost
Drainage£5,000 to £25,000
Electricity£3,000 to £10,000
Telephone and broadband£0 to £140
Plumbing£13,000 to £17,000
Gas boiler and central heating£2,500 to £5,000

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Cost of flooring, plastering and carpentry

With the bones of the house in place and the services connected, this is the stage at which your house will finally start looking more like a home. Flooring will go down over the subfloor, walls will be finished and plastered, ready for painting, and a carpenter will work on the installation of skirting boards, internal doors, stairs, bannisters, etc.

Hourly rates for professionals at this stage will range from £15 per hour at the lower end for a plasterer to £90 per hour at the higher end for a carpenter. Please see the table in the ‘Cost to hire qualified tradespeople' section above for more information about labour costs.

Cost of fixtures and fittings

This stage follows on from the previous and entails the addition of light fittings, built-in cupboards or wardrobes, kitchens and bathrooms. See the table in the ‘Cost to hire qualified tradespeople' section above for more information about labour costs.

Costs of fixtures and fittings are difficult to estimate without knowledge of your preferences and budget, since basic options can be very differently priced to more premium options. To offer a simple example, a basic ceiling rose could cost as little as £2, while a large, ornate ceiling rose could cost upwards of £60.

Cost of painting and decorating

When your home has been constructed, you’ll pay around £325 per day for the services of a painter and decorator to handle the finishing touches.

The average cost to paint a two-bedroom flat is £2,000, while a five-bedroom house costs more like £6,000. The average exterior painting cost adds another £1,200 to the total. Material prices for decorating will vary, depending on whether you choose basic or premium paint and wallpaper options.

Cost of gardening and landscaping

Since gardening and landscaping occur externally, they can usually happen concurrently with all the above phases and be complete by the time the fixtures and fittings are in place.

The cost of hiring a landscape gardener will depend on the size of your planned garden, your aims for the space and the level of expertise you’ll need to pay for to achieve those aims. The table below outlines the average costs for various jobs.

 Gardening/landscaping jobAverage cost
Adding real grass£10 to £30 per m2
Installing artificial grass£30 to £60 per m2
Levelling£30 to £60 per square metre
Terracing£800 to £1,500 for ten-metre length, one-metre depth
Installing decking£50 to £100 per m2
Laying flagstone paving£45 to £75 per m2
Adding brickwork£35 to £45 per m2
Installing fencing£1,000 to £3,000 total, depending on perimeter size
Adding a driveway£70 to £130 per m2 (£20 to £105 materials only)

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Cost of snagging

When tools are downed, and the property is approaching official completion, you must pay an independent snagging inspector to visit your property. The inspector will spend several hours investigating it room by room to spot any problems with your newly built home, from loose connections to imperfect finishes.

They’ll then write up a snagging survey at a cost somewhere between £300 and £600, and your main contractor will be legally obliged to return to fix any issues that are flagged up.

Cost of additional new build house items after completion

Before your home is officially done, it will be inspected by building control, and they’ll issue a Completion Certificate if everything is up to standard and in line with regulations. You’ll then need to inform the local authority that completion has been reached so that they can value the home for council tax purposes.

You’ll be almost out of the woods at this stage, but you may still have a few costs to come. The table below lists some examples, allowing you to determine if you need to budget for them in advance.

Additional itemCost estimate
After builders deep-cleaning service£20 to £27 per hour
Window cleaning service£20 to £50 per hour
Installation of carpets (if not done during construction)£18 to £25 per hour for an installer, £6 to £60 per m2 for materials
Switching from self-build insurance to homeowners’ insurance£146 to £152 per year

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How long does building a new house take?

A new home usually takes five to nine months to construct and complete. This table breaks down the average timeframes for each stage of the process.

House building stageUsual timeframe
Designing the propertyA few months at minimum
Securing planning permission8 to 13 weeks
Securing Building Regulations approvalWithin five weeks
Completing groundwork and laying foundationsOne to four months
Erecting the superstructureTwo to four months
Connecting electrics and plumbingTwo to four months, usually concurrent with the next two categories
Flooring, plastering and carpentryTwo to four months
Fixtures and fittings, inc. kitchens and bathroomsTwo to four months
Painting and decoratingUp to a week for a four-bedroom home
Gardening and landscapingA few days to six months, dependent on specifics, usually done concurrently alongside some of the previously listed stages
SnaggingThree to seven hours for an inspection/survey, a few weeks to a few months for rectification of issues noted

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How to reduce house building costs

When you buy a pre-built property, you’re usually reminded at some point that this will be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. The same applies to building a home, even though the costs are usually incurred across a longer timeline. Turn to our cost-reduction tips if you’re hoping to reduce that expense while still making your house building dreams come true.

  • Seek planning advice pre-application if you’re unsure: If you have a complex or large-scale plan for your home (or a plan that differs from the style of the houses that surround your plot), you should consider seeking advice from the council before making a planning application. This will help you to determine how likely you are to be approved. The fee for this advice will almost certainly be cheaper than a rejection and reapplication.
  • Balance short-term cost reduction options against long-term savings options: When you’re trying to cut costs wherever possible, it’s easy to continually opt for the cheapest of the available spectrum of possibilities, whether it be for your choice of roofing, your choice of flooring or anything else. Take the time to look at long-term savings and strike a balance between affordable now and cost effective later down the line.
  • Take your time during the hiring process to prevent costly mistakes: Not every builder has the right experience level or ability to confidently carry you through a self-build, effectively managing numerous labourers and subcontractors throughout. Don’t rush into a hiring decision for a project of this size and complexity. Take your time, do your research and step into a professional relationship with a tradesperson who can answer all of your questions.
  • Consider the DIY route for non-structural elements of the build: If you’re still intrigued by the prospect of saving money via DIY solutions, we’ll reiterate that it’s not a sensible or recommended course of action for most of the self-build process. It may, however, be appropriate for non-structural elements of the project during later stages. This could include installing skirting boards, tiling the bathroom, landscaping your new garden, etc.
  • Spread costs for non-essential elements of the build: If your budget is tight, consider if there are any elements of the build that you could leave off the list for the time being and return to at a later date. For instance, could you live with an uncompleted garden area/outside space for a few months while replenishing your funds? Or could you hold off on hiring a painter and decorator for a similar timeframe, opting to wait it out or DIY instead?
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FAQ

Can I build a new house myself?

Though it might be possible for you to build a new house without the assistance of appropriately skilled professionals, we advise strongly against it. The price you pay to hire a tradesperson, be it a structural engineer, a new home builder, an electrician or a plumber, is the price you pay for expertise and appropriate distribution of risk. That price is 100% worth it for peace of mind concerning such an expensive and extensive project.

Is it cheaper to build your own home than it is to buy one?

The cost to build a house yourself can be lower than the cost to purchase an existing property, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. Building a new home comes with a higher degree of stress, risk and potential for error. Plus, creating a new home from start to finish takes a considerable chunk of time, sometimes upwards of a year if delays prolong the process, and you’ll need to account for housing costs during this period, alongside the expense of the build itself.

Do I need planning permission for my new build house?

Yes, you will need to make a full planning permission application for a self-build, and this will usually cost you around £500. Even extensions to existing homes often require planning permission, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only circumstance in which you won’t need to worry about making a planning permission application is if you’re purchasing a building plot, otherwise known as a plot that already has planning permission.

Are there loans available to help me with the cost of building a house?

Yes. Several different banks and lenders offer a self-build mortgage product to those planning to construct their own property rather than purchasing an existing one. Unlike a traditional mortgage, funds for a self-build will be released in stages, either in advance (at the start of each construction stage) or in arrears (after each construction stage is complete). Self-build mortgages have higher interest rates and tend to require a larger deposit, which could be up to 50% LTV.

Do I need to hire a builder who works under a new home warranty scheme?

Yes, we’d recommend hiring a new home builder supported by a warranty scheme. If you want to receive any form of financing for your build, this is essential from the lender’s perspective, and even if you don’t, it can provide valuable peace of mind. The most well-known UK new home warranty scheme is the National House Building Council’s (NHBC) Buildmark scheme, which outlines technical requirements, includes inspections during key stages of construction and offers a ten-year warranty period.

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Your new build house checklist

If you’d like to join the growing UK community of self-builders but are unsure where to start, we can help. Work through our new build house checklist to confirm that you’re on the right track (and haven’t skipped any crucial steps).

  • Complete some initial cost research: When figuring out the cost to build a house, calculator sites and initial calculations based on averages are the best place to start. Input the approximate area of your planned property and go from there. These rough estimates will provide an important initial sense of whether your project is viable.
  • Factor in additional expenses: An enormous amount goes into building a house that you may not have considered yet, from pre-build legal and planning costs to the costs of different materials. Speak with an expert to confirm that you’ve budgeted appropriately, then add 10% to 15% of the total budget to the amount you’ll need to give yourself a contingency fund if anything doesn’t go as planned.
  • Seek the support of experienced, relevantly skilled professionals: MyBuilder is an excellent source of qualified architects, builders and other tradespeople. Reviews from verified past customers are available to browse, as are working histories. Combined, this information should tell you whether a person has a) relevant expertise and b) a promising track record.
  • Compare your quotes to get the best price: Having connected with suitable local tradespeople, you can reach out to anyone who feels like an excellent fit for your project to request a detailed quote. From here, you can compare costs on a like-for-like basis to confirm you’re getting the best possible price. Ask questions of the tradespeople you’re considering if you’re confused or missing data that would make a fair comparison possible.
  • Work through a thorough hiring process: When you think you’ve found the right professional, don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re fully aware of the working methods they’ll be using, their health and safety protocols, their payment structure and their aftercare provision. An abundance of caution is essential, especially when hiring your main contractor, as their work could make or break the success of your build.
  • Make a confident final decision with contingencies in place: By the time you enter into a contract with a tradesperson to construct your new build house, you should feel 100% confident in their abilities and your decision. Plus, thanks to your contingency budget, you should feel you’ll be able to get the project back on track if anything goes wrong.
If your heart is set on crafting a property from scratch, find a reliable new build specialist on MyBuilder today. Turn your dreams into realities with professional competence and expertise.